This has to be concerning for any big program, including Virginia Tech. While Penn State and Tech are hardly identical, they share many similarities. They both have huge football programs, a charismatic and long-tenured head coach, and a rabid fan base.
I would personally like to believe that athletic director Jim Weaver is enough of a force within the institution to not bend to Beamer’s wills the way Penn State executives did. Nonetheless, Hokie fans have to wonder how Beamer and Weaver would’ve responded had they been confronted with such a situation. By all accounts, they seem like decent and conscientious men, but then again, who was more beloved than Joe Pa before all this came to light?
More than anything, the Freeh report eats away at my confidence in the humanity of college football administrators everywhere. We’ve seen plenty of examples of people covering up the misdeeds of athletes to shield a football program, but nothing was as widespread and horrifying as the cover up of Sandusky’s deeds.
It’s popular to rail against the evils of college sports, and there are certainly plenty to consider, but this is something different. It’s one thing for university presidents to operate greedily, or for the system to exploit the profits generated by its athletes, but what big business doesn’t feature greedy executives or exploited workers in its climb to the top?
Some have lumped the shocking results of this report in with these kinds of misdeeds as further evidence of the sport’s corruption. Instead, this lack of concern for these children seems to be something else entirely. If we can accept that many corporations treat their employees unfairly, then this incident stands as a parallel to Enron’s pension misdeeds in its unprecedented nature.
Regardless of the circumstances, this scandal means that every employee of a big football school needs to think about their actions very carefully, and perhaps this can be the one positive outcome of this whole mess.
Maybe, if there are other coaches and managers out there wrestling with similar choices, this will at least jolt them into action in a way that Penn State never was.